“I am Brazilian, quarantining in France with my Italian boyfriend”

Joana Victoria Furquim, 24, São Paulo (Brazil)

I am Brazilian, but I am qurantining in Paris, where I arrived the week before the French government announced the lockdown. I came to visit my boyfriend — I had some time off as I just graduated from law school and my master’s program at Sciences Po Paris won’t start until August.

My plan was to stay here for three months, the maximum allowed on a tourist visa, and then go back to Brazil for the summer. It’s crucial that I go to Brazil to get my student visa, which I can obtain only there. But now I fear that after I go, I won’t be allowed to travel back to France because of the virus. 

At the moment I am living with my boyfriend and four of his friends in a three-bedroom apartment. They are all Italian, so I started taking online classes to learn the language. The pro of living with five other people is that we can have fun together, especially during weekends when everybody can chill. We play cards, we play music… But there are also cons — it’s never quiet and you have to sync with everyone else’s rhythm. 

Joana plays music in her apartment in Paris.

I only leave the house to go jogging. You can do that before 10 am and after 7 pm, but you can’t stay out for longer than an hour and you have to remain within a 1km-perimeter around your house. You also need to fill a form before leaving. At first, you were required to carry a hard copy of the document, and because I don’t have a printer I had to copy it out by hand every time. Now you can simply fill it online and show the digital version on your phone if the police stops you. 

Regulations are really not that strict back in Brazil. Our president does not believe coronavirus is an actual problem and there is no national policy towards the virus. Each of the 26 states is outlining its own measures, and although governors and mayors closed non-essential businesses, people can still be outside for as long as they want and they don’t need to carry any type of authorization.  

I have been helping with an initiative that maps the kind of measures that municipalities are taking to fight coronavirus, and I can say that they are only starting to do so. Hospitals are going to get crowded very soon, and this is gonna be an issue especially in the many poor municipalities, where they have always been particularly precarious.

It’s gonna be a disaster if we reach the level of contamination that Italy or the U.S. experienced.

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